Carry Me Home
When I was little, we used to sometimes spend a weekend day at my aunt and uncle’s house. We all loved going there, and it was always quite the adventure. The trek seemed to take days and days. In reality it’s barely an hour drive [if you don’t go the wrong way on the highway first…] and now my brother and I do it on a whim. For some reason, when you’re little, an hour is practically eons and it always seemed like it took forever. Being there, though, was pure happiness. It was like a vacation from real life. I loved it and clung to every single moment I spent there.
Leaving was always hard. With an hour seeming like ages, the time between seeing my cousins felt like lifetimes. Every time we pulled away, I would have my face pressed against the glass or hanging out the window, waving my last goodbyes and fighting back the tears that were threatening to spill onto my cheeks. Once my family was out of sight, I would settle back into my seat, pop in my headphones and quickly drift off to sleep, exhausted from such an exciting day. When I was very small, I would sleep right through morning. I’d wake up in my bed and wonder how the heck I got there. As I got older sometimes I would wake up in my father’s arms as he was carrying me upstairs. There was something about this closeness, being taken from a wonderful day and held close until I was safely tucked into bed. Something almost magical, like it made the day go on just a little longer.
There were times when I woke up with the sudden silence that comes when the car is shut off. I would lay perfectly still and keep my eyes closed as inconspicuously as possible. Wait until I felt those strong, warm arms around me, gently lifting me from my seat and up the two flights of stairs to my room. My father held me as I tried my hardest to hold onto the joy the day brought.
It’s almost like I knew. I could tell the time was coming where I’d be too big to be carried up the stairs. I’d be too old to have the happy days feel like they were lasting forever. So I’d close my eyes and pretend to be asleep and cling to my Daddy…cling to my childhood.
Today at work I hit a breaking point. I was overwhelmed and not feeling well and tired. I wanted to close my eyes and shut out the world and have someone carry me until I was safe in my bed, tucked under the covers where nothing is hard. But I’m grown up now, so I had to carry myself to the subway and up three flights of stairs to my apartment. There’s no one here to tuck me in, but my blankets are still warm and soft and I still feel safe here.
And if I close my eyes long enough I can almost hear my parents whispering their goodnights.
It’s so much colder than I thought it would be, so I tuck myself in and turn my nightlight on. Wish I’d never grown up. Oh, I don’t want to grow up, wish I’d never grown up, I could still be little. Oh, I don’t want to grow up, wish I’d never grown up, it could still be simple.
— “Never Grow Up“, Taylor Swift